Lighthouse Business Solutions, owned by Douglas Lundrigan, aged 51. His does business consulting, coaching, training, and development.
What makes it successful:
“Gaining a deeper understanding of the generational cultural differences; the drain of business wisdom going on as Boomers retire; and the new methods of doing business that work versus some of the old ways that don’t work.” Meaning, Doug is developing an ever-deeper niche for himself.
Re-Invention, Re-Creation, and Re-Imagination:
Since age 15, Doug has been an entrepreneur. He started a profitable service delivering soda pop door-to-door. He also had ice cream, lawn care and peephole installation businesses before graduating from college. He spent over two decades in the pharmaceutical industry. He has opened a few other businesses on the side with his wife.
When Doug learned the company he was working for was shrinking, he started to do some research, investigating franchises and such. He worked to find his unique value, as well as something has had a passion for, was good at, and was needed in the market. He got input from family and friends, recognizing that “we don’t always see ourselves clearly.”
It came down to a process of elimination. His favorite position was in the training department, which he did for 26 years. He then made the decision to open Lighthouse Business Solutions as a training and development consulting company.
While Doug was not 100% on this decision, he learned decisiveness is the number one business skill that determines success. “Even if this isn’t the best thing I can do, I’m going to commit to it. Put your blinders on! Don’t get detracted!” He adds, “Unless something comes up that makes it impossible, discipline you mind to not be distracted by anything else.”
Failure and risk come with starting a business. And, if there is no other income you have to find something that generates income quickly, Doug acknowledges. Most businesses won’t get out of the red for two years. Doug recommends getting started on the ground work right away, which can take a few months or possibly years. Think about when you want to retire, do a comparative analysis, define your advantage, get some training from a small business development center. Do as much of this as possible before investing one dime.
“One of the things I advocate is that you’ve got to define your niche,” Doug says. More and more, Doug is gearing his work towards and specific population: his own generation. He notices that Baby Boomers are sometimes set in their ways. It helps to be open and willing to learn new things, including the new leadership culture of the 21st century. “There’s a steep learning curve,” Doug says. He advocates for finding the intersection between learning new skills and using what you have, although skills from the previous job won’t be applied in the same way.
Doug’s take away is despite the years of groundwork he did prior to launching is business, it still didn’t seem to be enough. Another point is understand the cultural change in the business world. Business today is not as it was before when we all started our careers. There is much more automation and much more need for emotional intelligence or great human interaction and that is what Doug teaches through Lighthouse. He is pleased with his success and sees that human interaction and emotional intelligence are much needed skills for any business, and entrepreneur and any 21st Century business.